JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Officers with the Jonesboro Police Department are getting ready for Memorial Day weekend.
According to the Jonesboro Police Department's annual report, they saw an increase in traffic accidents from 1,179 incidents to 1,370.
Sergeant George Martin said the increase is due to a combination of things.
"The population in Jonesboro is growing and expanding," Martin said. "There are a lot of new businesses coming in. We have a lot of people who drive in to work in the city. ASU is getting bigger every year, so we're seeing a lot more traffic in Jonesboro, but we also have operator error. It's not just any one thing, it's a mixture of both. People driving fast or not looking both ways or pulling out in front of cars. And we do have a heavy traffic problem here, and it's going to continue to get worse with the population and the city growing."
Sgt. Martin said there are some things motorists do on the road that cause accidents that could be avoided.
"One of the things we see is a lot of the cars following each other too close," Martin said. "Especially during rush hour, that's when we have a lot of our wrecks. They're not all bad in nature, but we do see fender benders. Traffic stops and someone rear ends the car in front of them. We just want to tell them as a motorist to give yourself that extra distance. Don't ride the bumper of the car in front of you."
Martin also said if you aren't sure, don't try!
"When you're coming out of a parking lot be sure you look both ways," Martin said. "If you are wondering, 'I think I can make it,' don't try it! Make sure you know for sure you can make it out of the parking lot."
Martin said sometimes motorists cause accidents when they try to let someone in who can't see.
"Another thing we see is if somebody stops and traffic flow is backed up, and you're on a multi-lane road then somebody stops to let you turn out of a parking lot, be careful because that person may not see the inside lane or the other traffic coming up and when you turn out you can get t-boned or hit by another car," Martin said.
And something enough people don't do is wearing their seat belt.
"Another thing is your seat belt," Martin said. "Make sure you wear your seat belt. It takes just a second to buckle up, and that will save your life."
Martin said wearing your seat belt will lower chances by 45% of you dying in a car crash.
"When you're coming to an intersection and the light changes yellow be sure to stop," Martin said. "That's what the yellow light is there for. It's not to gun it and beat the red light. It's to stop and slow down for the stoplight."
Martin also said with the holidays ahead, traffic is going to get even busier!
"With the holidays coming up, not just the holidays but summer, we are going to see a lot more traffic," Martin said. "Kids are going to be out of school. The college is going to be out. So, we're going to see a lot more traffic during the daytime because of kids out and about. There are a lot of people leaving for Memorial Day Weekend or vacations coming up. Traffic is going to increase so be sure you have everything ready to go. Make sure when you leave on that trip that you buckle up. Check your tires before you go. A lot of people neglect their tires. Make sure you're not driving on bald tires and that your car is ready to go. Make sure you're rested before you go on a trip."
The main thing is just to drive smart.
"The main thing is slow down and be cautious," Martin said. "Look both ways before you turn onto the road and if you are in traffic make sure you give yourself a safe enough stopping distance from the car in front of you."
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